Boy's Anzac Day terror plot 'would've resulted in deaths'

A 14-year-old boy's plot to attack Anzac Day celebrations in Australia would "in all probability" resulted in a number of deaths, a court has heard.

The boy, now 15, from Lancashire, wanted police officers to be beheaded at a parade in Melbourne on April 25.

He pleaded guilty to inciting terrorism overseas in July - making him Britain's youngest terrorist.

At the start of the two-day sentencing hearing, Manchester Crown Court heard how the teenager planned the attack from "the bedroom of his parents' suburban home".

He also told one teacher at his former school: "You are on my beheading list."

Defendant's troubled background

The court heard how the Muslim teenager was experiencing "difficult" family circumstances leading up to the offence.

His parents had separated and he was excluded from school on a regular basis.

He was described as "undoubtedly a troubled young person" who had "strong religious convictions".

Despite moving schools, his poor behaviour continued.

He threatened a male teacher on "many occasions" and on one date he said he would "cut his throat and watch him bleed to death".

Praise for Bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden, the former leader of al-Qaeda. Credit: Reuters

He previously praised Osama bin Laden and stated his own desire to become a jihadist and a martyr.

The teen also expressed extremist views and stated his admiration for so-called Islamic State.

He was heard telling pupils about beheading and even shoved his phone into the face of a teacher, which played a video showing dead and bloody bodies on the floor.

"You are on my beheading list," he told one horrified teacher.

He was heard

Referral to anti-terror programme

An armed officer walks down Downing Street. Credit: PA Wire

The defendant was referred to the Government's counter-extremism programme Channel after his mother explained to the school that he spent all night on his computer studying foreign affairs and "seemed to have the weight of the world on his shoulders".

"She stated also that he spent time talking over the internet to persons that he had not met," prosecutor Paul Greaney told the court.

The voluntary Channel programme closed his case in July 2014 after the school noted no particular features of radicalisation.

'Tipping point' is reached

The teenager had become obsessed by Islamic State. Credit: Reuters

By March 2015, a "tipping point" had been reached, prosecutors said.

Staff at the defendant's school were "increasingly concerned for their own personal safety" after attempts to deradicalise him failed.

Pictures of IS fighters, dead Syrians, internet searches for explosives and beheading videos were also found on the teenager's phone.

Anzac Day plan

People pay their respects during Anzac Day on April 25. Credit: Reuters

The beheading plot was instigated by a well-known IS recruiter and propagandist named Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, who treated the defendant as "a little brother".

The teenager first spoke to Al-Cambodi - real name Neil Prakash - in January. They discussed routes to Syria and launching potential attacks in Lancashire.

The boy then made contact with an alleged Australian jihadist named Sevdet Besim in March.

The prosecutor said it was "absolutely clear" that al-Cambodi was the link between the defendant and then 18-year-old Besim.

Police say multiple people would have died if the attack had been carried out. Credit: Reuters

The plot was planned in more than 3,000 messages, with the intention being that "police officers should be murdered by beheading".

On March 24, Besim messaged the defendant: "So far the plan is to run a cop over on the anzac parade & then continue to kill a cop then take ghanimah and run to shahadah?"

The defendant responded: "ill give orders soon but its looking along that line."

Messages discussing the weapons to be used followed and on March 23 Besim said he was travelling with a machete, knife, Taser and a Shahada martyrdom flag in his car.

Besim also told the Lancashire teen: "I feel lik a young kid with a ticket to disney world cant wait ahahah. Yeh I wanna make sure I get shot to. Not b4 I take out at least 1."


On March 24, the defendant was eventually arrested.

Besim was detained on April 18 and found to be in possession of a knife which he had previously shown the British teenager in a photograph, who at the time said: "Handle is perfect for tearing through throat."

"In the event, fortunately, the authorities here and in Australia intervened and a plot that would in all probability have resulted in a number of deaths was thwarted", Mr Greaney said.